Funding

President Obama signed the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act (also known as the Serve America Act, or S.277) yesterday afternoon at the charter SEED School of Washington, DC. The bill is a “landmark” and would greatly expand the nation's volunteer corps and start new programs to expand innovative social programs, help small charities get management advice, and make volunteerism more effective, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy.

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The U.S. Global Leadership Campaign reports that Congress began a two-week recess following approval by the House and Senate of their respective versions of the FY10 Budget Resolution. A Budget Conference Committee is expected to meet during the week of April 20 to resolve differences between the two bills.

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The U.S. Global Leadership Campaign reports that Congress began a two-week recess following approval by the House and Senate of their respective versions of the FY10 Budget Resolution.  A Budget Conference Committee is expected to meet during the week of April 20 to resolve differences between the two bills.

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The U.S. Global Leadership Campaign reports, yesterday afternoon, the Senate approved by unanimous consent the Kerry-Lugar Amendment to the Senate Budget Resolution (S.Con.Res.13), restoring a $4 billion cut to the FY10 International Affairs Budget approved last week by the Senate Budget Committee:

Approval of the Kerry-Lugar Amendment restores funding to the Administration’s request level of $53.8 billion. This funding level represents a $4 billion or 8 percent increase over the $49.8 billion estimated FY09 spending level.

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President Obama signed the 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act yesterday, funding the federal government at $410 billion through September 30, 2009. In the omnibus, State Department Educational and Cultural Exchanges are funded at $538 million for FY 2009, as previously reported by the Alliance. Although the outline of the President's FY 2010 budget has been made public, no further details (including the funding level for exchanges) have yet been released.

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Career Ambassador Thomas R. Pickering called for the doubling of international exchange programs during his testimony on February 25 at the State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations subcommittee hearing on “Building a 21st Century Workforce.” As part of his testimony, Pickering described the urgent need to rebuild our entire public diplomacy capacity through hiring, training and reorientation, and reconfiguration.

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The Alliance convened a meeting of its State Department Task Force on Wednesday, February 11, to discuss the position papers that will be used for the conclusion of FY 2009 appropriations, as well as the FY 2010 appropriations season. Colleagues from the American Councils for International Education, the Fulbright Association, the Institute of International Education, IREX, NAFSA, and Sister Cities International participated. The main issues discussed and decided during the Task Force meeting include:

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An op-ed by Col. David Tohn, an Iraq war veteran and National Security Fellow at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, appeared in yesterday’s Miami Herald. Col. Tohn argues for increased support and funding for soft power, telling the story of a potential jihadist turned Fulbright Scholar to support his case.

Read the full article at here.

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In testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) yesterday, President-elect Barack Obama’s nominee for Secretary of State, Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY), told Senators that the State Department “must be fully funded.” She noted that she would return at a later date to talk about the details of the Administration’s budget.

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The Alliance completed visits this fall to consular posts in Asia to discuss visa processing. We visited the following posts: Beijing, Shanghai, Bangkok, Manila.

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